Region: Upper Plains
(zone 4, Minnesota) Bought the tree-form of Tardiva Hydrangea and planted it on the south side of our deck; full sun all day, exposure to south summer winds. It thrives & blooms profusely every year, starting about late July/early August. Large, showy flowers start out white, usually get a pinkish tinge, then turning tannish as cold weather sets in. (Bloom time and colored "tinge" can vary from year to year depending on conditions, but it has never failed to bloom heavily.) I fertilize once or twice a month during the growing season with a 20-20-20 Miracle Grow, but never after August. This "tree" is a somewhat slow grower, at least it has been for me. After 8 yrs., the tree is about 6 ft tall with a full,lush canopy that's 4 1/2 to 5 ft wide. (In the 8 yrs we've had it, it has grown about 12-18" in height but has doubled in width. It doesn't appear as though it's going to get any taller, but maybe a little wider yet???...We'll see, I guess, but give it at least 5 ft of room for canopy spread.) Because it's next to the deck, it's easy for me to reach and cut off the dead blooms after the tree goes dormant in late fall/early winter. I've also left the spent flowers on through the winter for winter interest and deadheaded in early spring before the tree leafs out. I think that maybe helps ensure that it will put out a full flush of flowers every year, but since I've never gone a year without cutting off the spent flowers, be it in late fall, winter or early spring, I can't say for sure whether or not deadheading affects bloom performance. The tree maintains a a nice compact canopy with no additional trimming. Water weekly and deeply the first couple yrs to establish a deep healthy root system. Once established, I water only during extended periods of hot drought. I have never done anything to protect it from winter conditions. Roots are not invasive, but after a few years in the ground, it did start to sucker somewhat at the bottom of its trunk. I have to cut these off several times during the growing season or they'll get thick, tall and steal vigor from the plant (not to mention take away from the beauty of the tree from). That's the only negative remark I have, but it's a small price to pay for this beautiful plant. Even when not in bloom, this tree-form Tardiva Hydrangea is very attractive and striking, getting lots of comments and compliments. Makes a great specimen plant. I highly recommend it where ever you have room for a small tree that requires little maintenance, can take full sun, cold temps and puts on a dependable flower show year after year!!
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